Why did I stop by the convenience store at the gas station that Friday evening? I guess you could say that I was looking for some company…..I was looking for love……in a six-pack crate of Budweiser’s. Don’t judge me; I only wanted something warming for my soul because my loft apartment was a cold place to come back to after dark. It would be just me and my thoughts. And lately, they hadn’t been very kind to me. They constantly nagged and criticized……and told me how much of a failure I was for getting stuck at a dead-end job taking calls from angry ill-mannered people who consistently used me for target practice. “Hello; my name is Marlee. In what ways would you like to shit on me today, and how can I make the experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible for you?” After the day that I had, I couldn’t stand sobriety – it would be too much. Two was a disaster but eight! Me, my thoughts and six beers – eight was definitely a happy crowd, and I was looking forward to it.
I parked my Yamaha YZF in front of Pete’s Place and dismounted. Pete’s Place was one of those places which rarely saw customers coming through its aisles to peruse the scantily stocked shelves. The gas station was located on the highway, so it catered to wayfarers, and those were few and far between now that the road was so unpopular. It was a shame for Pete; it had seemed such a good location when he opened for business a couple years ago, but he may now be considering closing shop.
I saw the girl standing by the entrance as I approached the front door of the store. Only then, I did not realize that she was exactly what I was looking for. She was tall, skinny, androgynous……and about my age (twenty-two). She wore boyish clothes – a darkly coloured oversized hoody, jeans and mud-stained chucks; and she had a backpack slung over her shoulder that suggested she was transient. I couldn’t tell if she had long or short hair because she was wearing a light-grey beanie. I don’t know why I took note of her appearance in such detail as I walked up to the store, maybe it was because of the contradictions in her posture – the delicate frame in sturdy clothes as though she were desperate for an armour to protect herself with; or as though she were hiding from something. Or maybe I only noticed her because she was really tall for a girl and her caramel skin glowed under the neon lights even from the distance.